A glossy coat and lustrous skin are some of the most recognized signs of a happy and healthy pup. Such dogs seem to emanate a glow from the inside out, shining from tip to tail. So, what to do if your dog’s skin and coat are lacking in luster? Here are our top tips to restore the shine.
1. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition
Just as with humans, the old adage “you are what you eat” holds true for dogs as well. When dogs are fed a poor diet lacking in proper nutrition, it often shows up as flaky skin and a dull coat. With hundreds of dog foods to choose from it has never been easier to find a high-quality food to feed your dog but the catch is you need to turn the bag over and read through those ingredients. Like reading your own food labels the simpler and least processed the better; real meats, real vegetables, complex carbohydrates and good fats are always the best. If you dog’s food is missing any of the key skin vitamins, minerals or essential oils then adding an overall nutritional skin supplement additive to their food can fill in any gaps there are.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining skin and coat health, containing excellent anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe itching or inflamed skin and keep fur shiny. Omega-3 supplements are an easy way to provide your pup with a concentrated, consistent dose to keep their skin and coat in top shape. If you are looking to go the fish oil route alone instead of an all-in-one supplement then just make sure it is a safe product shown to have low levels of heavy metals. Personally, we have long been a fan of Nordiac Naturals Omega Pet Oil which can be added to food. Another Omega-3 option would be TopDog’s Flexerna Omega which has a secret weapon – the green lipped mussel oil.
3. A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
In addition to omega-3s, omega-6s are another essential fatty acid that up your dog’s shine game. While you can buy omega-6 supplements, in this case vegetable oils are just as effective. Sunflower or safflower oils work great, as do olive and flaxseed. The cooling properties of coconut oil may also help to relieve inflammatory skin conditions. You can add oil to your pup’s food daily, just be sure not to give them too much as it can cause diarrhea. For a small dog, stir in one teaspoon of oil per meal. For a large dog, give one tablespoon per meal.
4. Don’t Brush Off Brushing
Regular brushing stimulates your dog’s skin and hair follicles, which increases the natural production of skin oils that make for a lustrous coat. Keep in mind that even shorthaired dogs need their cells stimulated. Plus, your pup will love the extra attention. Aim to brush them daily, or at least every other day.
5. Find a Bathing Balance
When it comes to bathing your dog, the key is to strike a balance between bathing regularly and not too often. Regular bath times ensure your pup’s fur stays clean, but scrubbing too often can strip their coat of essential oils. While your particular bathing balance will depend on your dog, the length of their coat, and how dirty they get, bathing no more than once every two weeks is a simple guideline. Use a natural, moisturizing shampoo that won’t irritate their skin, and you can even add a natural conditioner afterwards.
6. Pamper Your Pup
Just like our skin and hair, your dog’s skin and coat can benefit from a day at the spa. Have fun with this one – there are so many different ways to pamper your pup that also support skin and coat health. An olive oil soak can work wonders for a dog with damaged skin or dry fur. Tea tree oil can be used as a healing leave-in treatment, or you can use coconut milk on their coat for several minutes before bath time. Another great way to soothe skin, tame itching, and promote shine is an oatmeal bath (which you might remember if you ever had chicken pox as a kid). Grind one cup plain oatmeal into a fine powder, fill a tub with warm water, add the powder and stir in until the water appears cloudy, then place your pup in the bath. Pour the water over them, avoiding their eyes, and massage for 10-15 minutes. Then simply rinse and pat dry.
Try these tips out on your dog at home. Your four-legged friend will thank you and you’ll have a radiant, shining pup in no time.